Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital is tightening up on safety restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to soar in Quebec.
As of Wednesday, in-person visits by patients and clients will be severely restricted or discontinued at all clinics, according to Carl Theriault, a spokesperson for the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.
Staff members are being asked to use telehealth whenever possible, reaching clients by phone or video chat.
Some operating rooms may also have to close temporarily, at least during the upcoming holiday period. Those who have appointments for operations may receive a phone call telling them the procedure has been postponed.
Other measures are being re-introduced to reduce foot-traffic through the hospital and ensure that only essential individuals are allowed into the facility.
The hospital is restricting access to two entrances: the main entrance and Pavilion K.
There will be increased COVID-19 screening of employees and caregivers.
It is also restricting visitors. Caregivers will still be allowed into the hospital, but only if they comply with the specific policies, including wearing personal protective equipment, physically distance and wash their hands frequently. Only one caregiver will be permitted per patient, though, and all other visits will be off-limits.
Patients who come to the hospital in person for a clinical appointment must leave immediately after it ends, Theriault said.
Face-to-face meetings will not be allowed, even with masks and physical distancing.
Security guards will be strictly enforcing these measures, said the CIUSSS spokesperson, adding that the new regulations will be posted in common areas.
Staff members are also being asked not to hold social events, including potluck lunches, communal meals or anything that involves sharing food.
Caregivers and patients’ families should also not send chocolates or other treats to the units, since food can’t be shared at the nursing stations.
“I realize that this will be disappointing to those who have been looking forward to a bit of cheer during the holiday season, in order to raise their spirits after having worked so hard this year. Unfortunately, we have to take every necessary step to keep the situation under control,” said Theriault.
The changes take effect on Wednesday and will last at least until Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.